On Sunday night, playing for the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, Odell Beckham Jr. made a touchdown catch so unbelievable that it was almost instantly described as “the greatest of all time.”
It was so good, the commentators almost missed it.
“There’s a flag [on the field],” said one – the referees throw flags when they spot something illegal. It was only when Beckham got up to celebrate the touchdown that the other thought to ask, bemusedly, “Did he catch that?”
It would seem, however, that one-handed catches are actually no big deal for the rookie wide receiver:
The furore surrounding Beckham’s feat highlights the symbolic power of the catch, in sports as different as American Football and Cricket. We just want it to stick. We want to be amazed.
Take this scrambling back-and-forth boundary effort from Kieron Pollard in the IPL:
Sometimes in cricket, catches can be both funny and amazing, like this Chris Gayle third-time-lucky effort:
In baseball, scrambling up the outfield wall to take a home run-stopping catch is known as a “Spiderman catch”. And it seems that if you’re a fan of the Hiroshima Carp in Japan’s Nippon Baseball League you can expect to see these acrobatic feats pretty regularly:
When it comes to Aussie Rules, they think nothing of getting a ‘leg up’ to take a great catch:
While in rugby union, you sometimes need just a little help from your friends (it helps if your particular friend is Tendai Mtawarira, aka the “Beast”):
This effort in the Australian NRL may not be plucked from the air but there is something a little ‘magical’ about it:
They’re even at it in tennis! Or at least the ballboys and ballgirls are, to the delight of the Australian open crowd:
In the UK, “Catches win matches” is a phrase familiar to anyone who’s stepped onto the cricket field. Unfortunately for the New York Giants, Beckham’s superhuman catch could not stop them losing 31-28 on Sunday night. Luckily for Beckham, it seems likely that his unbelievable catch will outlive the memory of the scoreline.
BONUS ROUND: the “biggest” catch in cricket history. Bermuda’s Dwayne Leverock is truly larger than life…